Many parents of teenagers worry that their children might be using marijuana. After all, marijuana is by far the most commonly used illicit drug and is widely available. Unfortunately, marijuana addiction is an issue that impacts many teens. It is best to halt drug use at an early age before the habits are deeply ingrained and marijuana intervention and rehab is necessary. Let’s take a quick look at the truth surrounding teen marijuana use.

How Many Teens Use Marijuana?

According to The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, almost 20% of individuals between the ages of 12 and 17 claim they have used marijuana at some point in their lives. While this number may seem high, it is actually about a percent lower than it was in 2002. It is estimated that 4,830 teens start using marijuana each day and that 7.2% of teens have used marijuana in the last month. When it comes to older teens between the ages of 16 and 17, this percentage more than doubles. It has been said that 15.6% of 16 and 17 year olds have used marijuana in the last month. Marijuana use among teens is rampant, although indicators show that teen use is decreasing.

When Does Marijuana Use Begin?

Many teens start using marijuana very young. A recent study reports that nearly 10% of the students studied started using marijuana before they turned 13. This means that marijuana prevention and education efforts need to start before the teenage years. Male students typically start using marijuana at a younger age than female students. Be aware that recent studies also indicate that younger students (9th and 10th grade) were more likely to use marijuana before 13 than those in higher grades (11th and 12th).

Where Does Marijuana Use Occur?

One fact that surprises many is that marijuana is actually being used in our public schools. While most students use marijuana off school property, a recent study shows that 5.8% of students have used the drug while at school. This means that students are getting high between classes and during lunch. The use of marijuana in school is increasing and is up from 3% in 2001.

Often teens don’t realize just how harmful this drug can be and don’t understand that they are at risk for marijuana addiction. Many incorrectly believe that this drug does not carry any risk. If we want to slow teen marijuana use, education is key. Since many teens start using this drug at a young age, it is important for parents to talk to their children about the dangers of using marijuana.